The Top 10 Apple Games of All Time

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The Top 10 Apple Games of All Time



5. Dark Castle and Beyond Dark Castle


Mac-first Dark Castle, set an unmatched benchmark for gorgeous black-and-white graphics. Gamers in 1986 compared the shaded characters and chiseled backgrounds to chunky splotches of color on competing computers. There was no contest. But Dark Castle’s difficult, but responsive gameplay carries the series. Controls seem simple enough, running and leaping through side-view mazes while tossing rocks at enemies. But numerous hidden traps nab medieval adventurers, or worse, send them to the dungeons of Trouble. Just-released Return to Dark Castle, replays levels in the original games, while adding dozens more. It’s as frustrating and fun as we remember.


4. The Oregon Trail


This edutainment staple originated on DOS, but many gamers remember its ubiquitous 1985 Apple II version, often found in schools. We remember the hunting. This prospecting simulation recreates the one-way trip West, full of river crossings, toil, and disease. Your job is to see your virtual wagoneers safely across the continent; there’s always a semi-random danger waiting over the next hill. Save money on expensive food rations, and just load up on ammunition. That’s living off the land. Oregon Trail has been updated every few years, staying fairly current for today’s kids. There’s even a fan-made Facebook multiplayer version and a Flash clone.


3. Prince of Persia


The acrobatic prince rolls, leaps, parries, and thrusts through this side-view classic. Released first for the Apple II in 1989, Prince of Persia and its 2D sequel found a Mac audience, too. Great graphics and fluid animation are topped only by devious dungeons. Traps and guards block your progress, introducing a then-new puzzle-solving element to the action game. Long before 24, the original Prince of Persia gives only a real-time hour win, adding tension to the quest. The series has expanded to 3D parkour stunts with its console versions, but we’ll always love the game’s 2D Apple roots.


2. Lode Runner


The Apple II was one of the original launch platforms for 1983’s Lode Runner. Players navigate simple, side-view mazes, avoiding enemies by drilling holes into soft, brick floors. Moments after an attacker—or the player—falls into a hole, the space seals, crushing its victim. Lode Runner’s complicated levels require planning and careful excavation; this great game takes a simple idea and twists it into a mind-teasing puzzler. Lode Runner has found gold with several Mac releases, including the underappreciated Lode Runner 2, which ads a 3D angle to the puzzles.


1. Myth: The Fallen Lords


One of the original battle-strategy games, Myth doesn’t force players to keep track of resources and painstakingly outfit armies. Instead, players just get a bunch of warriors and issue them real-time commands to attack targets. Bungie’s wry humor informs the game, with careless dwarfs apologizing when their moltov cocktail misfires hit friendly troops. But the tactics involved set the standard for all followers; a few archers spread across several hills provide offense, while armored knights stand in defensive formations to give protection. If you still have old Myth discs, Project Magma offers a free OS X update to keep playing. This 1997 release looks dated now, but the action is timeless.


Not happy with our results? Vote for your choice of top video game.




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I just wrote a blog post about the top 5 classic mac games. My list went:

#5) Warcraft
#4) SimCity 2000
#3) Glypha III
#2) Myst
#1) Escape Velocity



Really? I take offense that Marathon is not in the top 3. Talk about a revolutionary game. Without the success of Marathon, Bungie does not go on to make Halo and Microsoft ends up with a crappy box without a flagship game and nobody cares about it.

Other games that should have been on here?

Another World (AKA - Out of this World). - [mentioned]

Glider - [mentioned]

Pathways Into Darkness (another Bungie classic)

Castles II: Siege and Conquest

Crystal Caliburn

These games were the only Mac games I could brag about when I was a kid.



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Mac Games

I can't believe Castle Wolfenstein didn't make this list. What a shame. The other game I would have loved to have seen would have been Transylvania (which, by the way is available for the iPhone).



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Ross Heitkamp

Back in the MacSE days, even before Dark Castle, there was Airborne. It is such a classic that it is now adapted for iPods! We had some great battles.

But, the truly amazing thing, that blew away all my PC friends (and even Mac friends) was that if you hooked up a tiny Mac SE to a stereo and played Airborne, there was amazing sound, including stuff that would have shook the house, had I had a subwoofer back then.



No flying games?

Hellcats Over the Pacific, especially with a cheat enabled to give more ammo, bombs, and health, was tremendous fun!

It ran very well on my Centris 650 (68040 25 MHz with separate math chip). Once the PPC came out, it wouldn't run, though.


Tom Boe

Apple had it first. I started working at MECC - maker of Oregon Trail - in January 1980. At that time, we had an Apple II+ version (c. 1979) that used animation and vector graphics for smooth line images. The original text version was developed on a timeshare computer by three student teachers in Fall of 1971. IBM didn't come out with the PC until 1982. I believe MECC's PC version was released in 1983.



Wizardry was truly groundbreaking



Great list, just missing two from my youth, Conan and Karateka. I think Load Runner and these two I played and copied hundreds of times. I remember cutting the squares out of the floppy and copying these games for friends. Good work.



Of all the games I've played, I have to say that none have sucked more time out of my life than the Warcraft series from Blizzard. I'm a little surprised that the series did not get mentioned. Blizzard has always been very good to the Mac Gamers, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who was totally captured by the very first demo of Warcraft I.



What about the best-selling CD-ROM game of all time (for a long time, anyway): MYST?



Thanks - Myth TFL and it's sequels are still, in myh, the best games ever created. Is there another game anywhere with the rotating camera view? This is why I keep my old beige G3 with system 9.



how about Exile Trilogy? I think it's the most intelligent role-playing-game ever. Nothing beats them. Jeff Vogel still makes good ones with the Avernum sequels.



I remember playing Oregon Trail on an Apple II+ back in '83. I was just that much ahead of my time. It was pretty easy to master once you figured out how to shoot the deer.

My favorite Mac game was, and still is, Daleks.



I've found many older titles at a website called 'Macintosh Garden.'

Just do a google search for that and you might be able to find games that you forgot about.



How could you leave it off the top ten. It was the only game to get major play time at my high school. It's because of Bolo that I am a Mac fan. There is nothing as cool as having a full 16 man game going, battling it out. And there is still a version that can be played on OS X, found at Another great game that was completely forgotten was Specter. Now that was the coolest vector graphic game that I ever played. The other two games that passed a many an hour on my Mac Pluses were Robosport and Maze Wars.


Zack Stern

I always liked shooting an enemy's little man and then trying to be first to find him parachute back in. And the mines. Always hide some mines. Yeah, I'll have to try the Bolo update.

Spectre and Super Maze Wars were also great. Good additions.



Spectre was also my favorite game on our office Apple SE II
and I would occasionally play it all night instead of going home...if you can believe it.

The other one we played that I loved was called "Diamond" but it is totally different from the one you can find now called the same. I really wonder what happened to that perpetually rebounding diamond ball that despite all my efforts would keep disappearing into dangerous pockets as it rolled across the landscape.



Back in 1988 when I had my Mac SE we used to have a saying: "friends don't let friends play Tetris." That game was so addictive when we first got our hands on it that you literally had to pry people away from it in order to get them to go outside and get some fresh air.

I do like some of your other choices but you forgot another all-time classic:

Leisure Suit Larry!!!



As for being on a universal top ten list I'm not sure, but I know my top games would include Escape Velocity, Escape Velocity: Nova, Flashback, and Odyssey: The Legend of Nemesis.



NICE job! A wonderfully rich, informed, and intelligent waltz down Mac-gaming memory lane.

But leaving out Glider Pro and SimCity...?


Zack Stern

Thanks. And, yeah, there are always more items in the numbered "n-best list" that don't make the cut. At least those two get some love in the introduction.



I am really pleased that someone who really understands Mac gaming wrote this article. Myth is one of the top games of all time on ANY platform, and is surely one of the most under-appreciated games as well. During a time when Starcraft was all the rage, my friends and I would battle it out in Myth with my 10 base T ethernet hub. I still believe the physics were some of the best (and most fun) put in a video game, and yes, I am still amused by the dwarfs. The only thing that bothered me was the frequent glitches and crashing caused by 3rd party maps and mods (which still have some problems even with the most recent updates). This is definitely a game to keep around though.



Myth is/was the most wonderful game ever. I spent hours upon hours and days and weeks playing this game on line with a vibrant and often very skilled community. In my sleep I would see arrows flying through the air and fires and thrall and all sorts of things.
It was a lifestyle for many of us and some us are still playing today although the community has shrunk.

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